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Self Care

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Who doesn’t need a hug once in a while from a soft, squishy teddy bear?

When life gets to be a little bit too much how do you deal?  When the atrocities of the world all get to be a little bit too heavy how do we reconcile that with our sense of gratitude?

I came home from work today feeling rather wrung out.  I have a phrase for this feeling…”I’m done people-ing for today.” I just can’t people anymore.

I have some go-to things that I do when I’m feeling worn thin and empty.  I write, of course but when I’m in the thick of it I sometimes can’t or don’t trust myself to write.  If I write when I’m at that Critical Mass Stage it’s likely that I won’t say what I’m feeling, I might just string a long list of cuss words together, which we can’t discount as a healthy form of self-care, because I totally vote we approve cussing as a healthy approach to stress relief.

So today, instead I came home from work, walked my dog and put on a 30 minute yoga video by my favorite @Yogawithadriene and let her wring it all out of me with cat/cow poses, puppy poses, down dogs and deep breathing.  As I began the beginning of the video and the deep breathing and warming up started, I found the tears really close to the surface.  They never tipped over and fell, but if they had I would have let them.  Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good cry, amiright? Instead, I honored the burning behind my eyes and the well in my throat and breathed through it.  It passed and I found my groove.  It was in that rather zen moment that I decided it was a good time to write.

So here I am, cuddled in my comfy bed, a snoring puppy next to me and my phone turned to silent.  This is me time.  This is time for me to wash my soul of the day thus far and let it all go.  One deep breath, one childs pose and one typed word at a time.

It’s in these moments that I can find my gratitude again.  What am I grateful for today?  I’m grateful for my job that allows me to help people who are often experiencing the worst thing that has ever happened to them.  I’m grateful that God blessed me with a compassionate heart that hears the inner voice of others and is able to answer that voice with a hug, connection to resources and often a hankie.  I’m grateful that I have a home to come back to at the end of the day, where I have internet and YouTube, a laptop and healthy hands to type these words.  I’m grateful that I have my dog who is always excited to see me, no matter what kind of day I’ve had and always has a sloppy, cuddly kiss for me.  I’m grateful for a daughter who is a fantastic room-mate and does her share of chores so I don’t have to.  She is a blessing, no doubt.

There are so many things to be grateful for.  While I honor the gratitude, I also honor these days when I am so very much done people-ing.  If I didn’t have those days of compassion fatigue, maybe I wouldn’t be able to see the blessings where they are so prevalent.

I told someone today who was struggling that I don’t necessarily believe the line “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” – instead I believe that no matter how much sour we experience, there is always a bit of sweet.  That is the balance of it all – if you’re willing to look for it.

Are you willing to look for it?  If you’re struggling with something or having a bad day, can you look for the sweet?  I always enjoyed playing a game with my kids at the end of the day called “High – Low” where we would each say something that happened in our day that was a Hi and something that happened in our day that was a Low.  It was always a good way to help the kids see the good things along with acknowledging the challenges.

What was your Hi-Low today?  I’d love to read them in the comments.

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